Most companies have already started on some kind of Green IT program, whether it be as small as saving energy on individual PCs, or as large as data center transformation. Whatever the state of your company's Green IT plans, though, it's time to make the jump to Green IT 2.0. Here's how to do it.
Forrester recently came out with a report with an overview of the market for Green IT consulting services, titled "Market Overview: Green IT Services." I'll write more about that report in a future blog. But one of the more intriguing sections of the report is at the end, where the author gives advice to Green IT consulting firms on how to get to Green IT 2.0. I've taken that advice, and given it a spin to help enterprises instead of consultants. Here's the advice, summarized from the report, and edited with an eye towards the enterprise:
Don't limit yourselves to the data center
Sure, the data center is where the low-hanging fruit is, and both the energy savings and ROI is potentially very large. But confining Green IT to the data center is a big mistake. In the words of the report, you should also tackle "the management and energy consumption of distributed IT resources like PCs, networks, printers, and mobile devices."
Look at the green benefits of outsourcing
The report says:
We are surprised that so far, outsourcing of data center applications and infrastructure has not made a bigger splash among enterprises looking to reduce the energy consumption of their IT operations. Outsourcing or colocation does not eliminate a company's responsibility for data center-related carbon emissions --- they still must account for the energy usage of service provider’s operations on their behalf. But given the scale and efciency of outsourcers' data centers, energy consumption and the resulting carbon emissions can be reduced signifcantly.Beef up change management and process redesign capabilities
There are great opportunities for making the IT procurement cycle greener, and to recycle and reuse equipment. The report concludes:
We see green criteria in procurement as one of the most visible signs of increasing action by enterprises to improve the environmental footprint of the IT operations.Jump on the ripening opportunity in enterprise carbon management
As I've frequently said previously, Green IT should become the green center for an entire enteprise, not just for computing resources. The Forrester report echoes that and notes:
Tying IT systems and asset management capabilities with broader software systems for tracking, reporting, managing and monetizing corporate carbon emissions is a fast-ripening opportunity. Enterprises are just starting to evaluate and experiment with systems from startup specialists like Planet Metrics and Clear Standards, while waiting for their big ERP providers to add carbon accounting modules to their mainstream corporate ERP systems.Build entry-point programs
Every Green IT initiative doesn't have to be a blockbuster, enteprise-wide project that requires massive amounts of planning and follow-through. You also need to think about smaller, easier-to-deploy projects. The Forrester report recommends "low-cost, short-timeframe projects (a.k.a. "entry points") that have tangible return."